In 1534, a Polish military commander and politician named Mikołaj Sieniawski decided to build a massive fortress near Berezhany, western Ukraine. Sieniawski wanted to create a place that was impenetrable, so he selected a patch of marshy land that was located on a small island near the Złota Lipa River. The structure took twenty years to complete and was one of the best concealed fortresses of the 16th century. The Sieniawski family wanted to make the fort a stronghold, so they included an entry gate, quarter tower, church, protective bastion, and thick guarding walls (6 meters in places).
Large sections of the building’s design were hand carved, including the chapel ceiling and a series of sculptures. In 1630, Berezhany Castle was expanded to include a collection of military style installments, four towers, lodging, and another church. The fortress was reconstructed by famous Italian architects of the time. Amazingly, the structure was not damaged by the Khmelnitsky’s Cossacks or the Turks of the 17th century.
Berezhany Castle was used as a safe haven for royalty and rich. It was visited by a collection of famous people, including Peter the Great of Russia on two separate occasions. By 1908, the castle had fallen into disrepair. It underwent major damage in World War I and after the Soviet Union occupied Berezhany in 1939, the fortress was destroyed. Many reports say that the Red Army purposefully bombed the buildings. Since 1999, Berezhany Castle has been included on a list of places in Ukraine that need to be reconstructed.